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When to Replace HVAC System
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When to Replace HVAC System

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning make up the components of an HVAC system. They create comfort and increase the quality of our indoor air. But, like any appliance or mechanical equipment, they do not last forever. Maintaining your HVAC equipment is important and homeowners often ask when to replace an HVAC system. During the hotter summer months, homeowners also look for the benefit and possibility of simple air conditioning repair versus a new A/C to save on costs.

How Long do HVAC Systems Last?

A quality system that has been properly maintained should last homeowners between 15 and 20 years. Most manufacturers have a 10-12-year warranty on major components, but well-cared for systems will outlive their warranty periods.

HVAC Maintenance

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of any HVAC unit, routine maintenance is recommended by all HVAC professionals. At Bill Howe Heating & Air Conditioning, all homeowners receive one year of preventative maintenance with new installations, and our experts encourage them to sign up for the Energy Savings Agreements in 2-5-year plans to keep maintenance easy and hassle-free. By joining a comprehensive maintenance plan, customers never have to worry about their system, and Bill Howe will alert them when it is time to schedule a system check and provide an experienced HVAC technician. It is also important to note that a system warranty will be voided by the manufacturer if maintenance is not performed as recommended by a licensed HVAC specialist.

Routine maintenance is at least one annual visit and “tune-up” by a licensed professional HVAC specialist. Maintenance should ideally be scheduled in the pre-season months prior to the system being used. Professionals recommend scheduling the pre-season maintenance in the spring for air conditioning and in the fall for the furnace. By scheduling preventative services before the system is actually needed, homeowners will have peace of mind knowing that their system will work when it is needed and that it will be in top condition. It is also ideal so that in the event repairs are required, homeowners will have time to schedule them and will not have to wait for an appointment. In San Diego, even with near-perfect weather, there is definitely a hot season. During months like July and August, most HVAC companies get booked out weeks in advance form customers with broken air conditioners making preventative maintenance hard to schedule. With preventative maintenance scheduled in the spring, homeowners won’t be left to suffer during extreme heat.

HVAC Maintenance, What’s Included?

Air Conditioner Repair versus Replacement

No homeowner looks forward to funding an entire system replacement or even a partial system replacement such as the air conditioner in the summer. It is a large investment, and even with financing, something homeowners should be able to plan and save for. With proper maintenance and a system that is not extremely old or inefficient, often minor air conditioner repairs can be performed and avoid an entire hvac replacement. Even on some older systems, if they have been routinely serviced, homeowners may be able to get one more summer out of them.

Some common air conditioner problems include:

Dirty Filters

Dirty filters can cause a host of issues in the functioning of an air conditioner. During annual maintenance, the filter will be cleaned or replaced, but Bill Howe Heating & Air Conditioning experts recommend changing the filter at least every 90 days and sometimes every month during excessive use. Dirty filters can block airflow and even stop the hvac unit from working in extreme conditions.


Sometimes, an air conditioner will stop working, and it is a simple repair such as a tripped breaker or blown fuse. If it is a breaker, homeowners can reset the breakers themselves but should be cautious of trying to repair a fuse as there is high voltage danger.


Wiring can become disconnected, chewed through by rodents, or short. Routine maintenance will uncover any problem wiring or potential issues.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks are one of those issues that can be very simple depending on where the leak is occurring, but still requires a bit of investigating to diagnose properly. If it is on the simple side, it can be repaired, filled and the A/C unit should be good to go. However, if a unit is constantly requiring refills of refrigerant, most HVAC companies will not perform this. It is actually against code to fill when a leak is known.


When the compressor or major components break down, sometimes repair is not the best solution. If the unit is still under warranty, cost savings can be huge, but generally, it is best to begin considering replacing the entire air conditioner system.

Air Conditioner Replacement

The most common reasons homeowners replace an air conditioner, or entire HVAC system, is when repairs are unable to be performed and for non-functioning systems. These are generally cooling and heating systems that are older and have not been properly maintained. During routine inspections and maintenance, if a cooling system is not functioning as it should, an HVAC professional cannot perform the proper maintenance. They will typically recommend replacement and provide an estimate.

There are many homeowners who proactively begin the replacement process. Homeowners who are concerned about energy efficiency and have an older inefficient heating and cooling system have time to do proper research on better systems and choosing the right hvac contractor. And even if a system is still working 20-25 years later, it could be sucking up energy and costing more money to operate than is necessary.

If a homeowner has the luxury of time to invest in the estimate process, spring is the best time to think of replacing their old outdated system. Most HVAC companies offer pre-season specials and usually have great deals on air conditioners plus heaters, so homeowners will also have the best system for all extreme weather conditions.

Homeowners can also take advantage of HERO financing. HERO is a financing program for upgrading to higher efficiency appliances, and homeowners can use this for a variety of products including water heaters, windows, roofing, landscaping and HVAC systems. And unlike traditional financing, HERO attaches itself to the equity ion the home, not the homeowner. It is easy to qualify and allows homeowners to upgrade their homes to become energy efficient spaces.

And, the best time to replace any HVAC system or air conditioner is before it breaks beyond repair. When replacing an older system, homeowners start fresh and can ensure that the new system receives the best care throughout its life. And since all systems are being manufactured with high efficiency in mind, especially in California, they will be saving on operating costs.

At Bill Howe Heating & Air Conditioning, our estimates for homeowners wanting a new hvac installation are always free. Our expert home comfort advisors will invest in designing a system for the homeowners needs ensuring they are getting the best product for their budget and it will function properly while saving them money on energy use.

If you are considering replacing your old and inefficient system, or need A/C this summer, call the experts at 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469) today!


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